Antitrust 03/11/2021

We Need Antitrust Reform—For the Little Guy

Trace Mitchell
Trace Mitchell Policy Counsel

Overhauling antitrust is in vogue.  Just last month the House Judiciary Committee launched a new series of hearings to flesh out potential changes to America’s current approach to antitrust enforcement. On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights is having a hearing on antitrust reform. And, in a sign of the times, left-of-center advocates want to ensure antitrust enforcers adopt an “anti-racist” agenda that places marginalized communities at the front of the discussion.

So often when we hear about antitrust, we think about the government seeking to break up large corporate monopolies. Before Google and Facebook, it was Microsoft. Before that, Ma Bell. But there is plenty of anti-competitive behavior that takes place outside of the realm of big business, and there is a way to reform such behavior that also places an emphasis on protecting disadvantaged communities: Congress can overturn the “state action doctrine” as applied to occupational licensing boards. This doctrine has long allowed semi-governmental occupational licensing boards to act in a blatantly anti-competitive manner—one that has a stark and disproportionate impact on minorities, the poor, and small-business entrepreneurs.

 

Read the full article at The Dispatch here.

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